Lawmakers squabble about dress code when there is none

Lawmaker Chan Chak Mo disapproved Sulu Sou’s outfit during Friday’s Legislative Assembly (AL) plenary meeting.

During the meeting, Sulu Sou wore a short-sleeve white t-shirt with the inscription “People Will Not Forget”. The slogan is related to the June Fourth incident.

Chan’s opinion occurred during the lawmakers’ speech session before the agenda.

“I request the chairman to rule if men can wear short-sleeve t-shirts, and ask what’s the dress code of the plenary meeting? His t-shirt says “People Will Not Forget”. I have no problem with that,” said Chan.

“[The moment] has nothing to do with what you are saying,” AL chairman Kou Hoi In responded to Chan.

Sulu Sou later also demanded to speak, hoping to respond to Chan’s explicit accusation.

However, the AL chairman urged Sou not to continue the argument because other lawmakers were in the middle of the debate of another topic.

Sou pointed out that the chairman could mute his microphone, similar to what happened before. The AL chairman then silenced Sou’s speaker, saying “you asked for it. I am going to mute it.”

Later, when the other discussion on the June Fourth incident ended, AL chairman Kou attempted to defend his shutting down Sou’s speaker, and commented on AL dress code. According to Kou, AL has no rules requiring dress code. “Lawmaker Sulu Sou was not right. AL does not have such rule which says if men can wear short-sleeve t-shirt.”

However, his further statement defended Chan Chak Mo and implicated that Sou’s outfit may not be proper for an AL plenary meeting. Kou was unable to list any rule suggesting Sou’s garment was unsuitable for AL. Instead, he resorted to his remembrance of the first AL chairman’s [post 1999] speech to claim that “AL is a solemn place.”

June 4 exhibition stormed roaring speech among lawmakers

Lawmaker Lao Chi Ngai’s comment saying that June Fourth image exhibition violates the Constitution Law, Basic Law and the One Country principle, has angered three civilian-elected lawmakers during Friday’s AL plenary meeting.

During the lawmakers’ speech before AL agenda, lawmakers Ng Kuok Cheong, Au Kam San and Sulu Sou raised an objection and expressed their dissatisfaction towards the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM)’s banning of the annual June Fourth incident image exhibition.

Chief-Executive appointed lawmaker Lao Chi Ngai taunted the abovementioned lawmakers’ opinions by remarking that commanding the June Fourth incident image exhibition is a contravention towards the constitutional law, the Basic Law, and the One Country principle.

Lao’s statement was first opposed by Au Kam San. “Breach of the Constitutional Law, Basic Law and the One Country, Two System is a radical charge. Saying that organizing an exhibition, a memorial event, is breaching the the Constitutional Law and the Basic Law is a extremely severe accusation,” said Au, who demanded Lao to take back his comment.

The same sentiment was shared by Ng Kuok Cheong and Sulu Sou, both believing that the image exhibition has been regularly organized in the past and the organizers legally applied for the event and the exhibitions were legally approved.

“What does it have to do with the breach of Constitutional Law and the One Country Two Systems principle? I hope economist Lao can explain this political matter,” Sou said.

The opposition didn’t make Lao back down. He engaged in several rounds of debate with Sou, Au and Ng. Lao argued that the exhibition violates the One Country principal. He disagrees with the exhibition being for civic education purposes. He wants the best for Macau; wants Macau society to be stable. Finally, he refused to take the allegation back.

Lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong commented that “there are many ways to love the country: being critical is one of them.”

Local judges considered “incapable” 

On Friday’s Legislative Assembly (AL), businessman lawmaker Cheung Lup Kwan Vitor indicated that judges, presumably Chinese judges, in Macau are “incapable” while Portuguese judges are far more competent.

Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong Weng Chon presented the government prescribed law amendment of law No. 13/2001 to the AL. The law concerns training courses and an internship system for personnel to become judges or prosecutors. Overall, the amendment raised the entry bar to the court and prosecution office. The provision suggests some mandatory courses requirements, and two years of working experience anywhere outside of a court and prosecution office.

Cheung, the indirectly elected lawmaker from the business sector, could not refrain himself from commenting on the bill.

“I rarely read [AL] documents. Today, when I saw this one, I made an historical first step [reading the document]”, said Cheung. While other lawmakers generally worried Macau’s shortage of judges, Cheung expressed his explicit thoughts on the amendment proposal, justice and judges.

In Cheung’s opinion, Macau’s judges need to improve their knowledge of law, their life experience, and their proficiency. Having said so, Cheung clarified that he was not disparaging Macau’s judicial system nor Macau’s judges.

Cheung, who chairs the board of the Pousada Marina Infante, urged Macau to not contemplate the number of judges but to pursue the high quality of judges. Cheung believes only when investors trust Macau practices pursuant to the law, will capitals flow into the city.

“Hiring judges can’t be unpretentious. Even the Court of Final Appeal uses Portuguese judges. The Portuguese have deep regard for both China and Macau. If you clean out [some current] incapable judges and hire [some] Portuguese judges, I believe [the Portuguese judges] are capable to devote themselves to Macau,” said Cheung, adding that “the most important is to be open-minded and to not sort people. Why can’t Macau use Portuguese?”

Besides holding up for Portuguese judges, Cheung also recommended the SAR government to send further judges to receive training, if not in the US, in Portugal or European Union.

“When they return, they will be a lot better. Especially concerning business matters, if [Macau] does not have these [Portuguese or foreign trained] judges, it is impossible for Macau to do a good job,” Cheung commented.

Unlike his usual lack of engagement in AL discussion, Cheung made forthright and seemingly callous comments on current judges or Macau trained judges.

“Current judges are really incapable in terms of international law. Especially [judges] who studied in Macau. They lack international perspective,” Cheung commented.

Besides being “cruel” towards Macau judges, Cheung, who was born in 1938, also showed his unique thoughts on the Basic Law.

It is commonly known that at Macau’s AL, many lawmakers prioritize the Basic Law overhead all laws in Macau. Cheung expressed a slight different view.

“Basic Law is not useless, it also does not outmatch the laws [in general],” said Cheung. “I hope Macau can train judges who treat everybody fairly and who are endorsed by everyone.”

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